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Meet our Commencement Speaker

Friday, February 8, 2019

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You may have heard the news that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the keynote address at Commencement 2019, 9 a.m., May 18 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

This choice is as exciting as it is fitting. Tim Cook represents the kind of success we hope all of our graduates can attain — not only because he is the CEO of the most innovative company in the world, but because he leads with dignity and uses his role to make a positive difference in the world. At Tulane, we are committed to addressing global challenges, giving back to our community and always acting with integrity and wisdom. Tim shows us how students can incorporate these values into life beyond graduation, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our commencement celebration.

As CEO and a member of Apple's board of directors, Tim has overseen the introduction of some of the world's most innovative products and services. He has also championed inclusion and diversity at Apple, investing in educational opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds, and ensuring Apple offices and stores are open and welcoming to everyone. Tim also hired Tulane graduate and former EPA head Lisa Jackson to assist Apple with the development of its renewable energy activities and helped achieve an environmental milestone: powering its global facilities on 100 percent renewable energy. Apple is now helping its global suppliers do the same.

In the seven years since Tim became CEO, Apple initiated a program to match employee charitable donations, has given millions of dollars to the American Red Cross and other NGOs and became the largest corporate donor to (RED), a nonprofit organization that partners with iconic brands to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Apple also became Malala Fund's first Laureate partner. Non sibi, sed suis, indeed!

Last year, Tim was again named to Fortune's "World's 50 Greatest Leaders" list. He has also been named "Person of the Year" by The Financial Times and honored with the Newseum's Free Speech Award for using his position to take a public stand on important social issues. In April 2018, observing the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference presented Tim with its Keeper of the Dream Award for Human Rights. Apple has also ranked No. 1 on Fortune's "World's Most Admired Companies" for the past 12 years, including each year Tim has been CEO.

Tim grew up in Robertsdale, Alabama. He was a Fuqua Scholar at Duke, where he earned an MBA, and holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University.

Anyone who has ever attended a Tulane commencement knows that they are renowned among the country's top graduation exercises. The Dome is electric with thousands of graduates, family and friends, a colorful, gonfalon-led academic procession, performances by Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band, Mardi Gras beads, second-lining, confetti cannons and more. Add to this, words of wisdom from the leader of a company that has changed the way we communicate, relate, work and live with one another, and you can guarantee that this will be one of the most memorable Tulane commencements ever!

Signature of Mike Fitts